European Overseas Exploration

1. What justifications does Albuquerque give for the attack on Malacca? Which might have been the most important in the sixteenth century?

2. What are three reasons for European overseas exploration? As more countries tried to expand overseas, did these motives change? Or, more directly, which motive was exploited the most?

3. What did Cortés focus on in his description of the Aztec capital city? Why do you think Cortés felt justified in conquering the city?

4. In what ways did Bartolomé de las Casas’s Destruction of the Indies help create the image of the Spaniards as “cruel and murderous fanatics?” What may have de las Casas’s motives behind such imagery and reaction to the events in the “New World?”

5. Analyze the interaction between King Louis XIV of France and the King of Tonkin. What are the underlying beliefs and approaches of the two rulers? How are they alike? Different? How does each date their letters? What do you infer from these dates?

6. Why and how did Japan succeed in keeping Europeans largely away from its territory in the seventeenth century?

1. According to Grimmelshausen, what was the effect of the Thirty Years’ War on ordinary Europeans?

2. During the 17th century, at whose expense did Austria expand? What territories did Austria add by 1772?

3. Describe the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and the eighteenth centuries. Why did the Ottoman Empire initially succeed? Why did it falter?

4. What motivated Cromwell’s political and military actions? What was Edmund Ludlow’s criticism of Cromwell, and how did Cromwell respond? In what ways did Edward Hyde see both good and bad features in Cromwell? How do you explain the differences in these perspectives?

5. How did the Bill of Rights lay the foundation for a constitutional monarchy? What key aspects of this document testify to the exceptional nature of English state politics in the seventeenth century?

6. What theories of government were proposed by Jacques Bossuet, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke, and how did their respective theories reflect concerns and problems of the seventeenth century?

1. What did Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton contribute to a new vision of the universe, and how did it differ from the Ptolemaic conception of the universe?

2. What does the correspondence between Galileo and Kepler reveal about an emerging spirit of scientific inquiry? What other notable achievements must European society have reached even to make this exchange of letters possible? What aspects of European material culture made the work of these scientists easier? What language were these letters written in?

3. What does Galileo think is the difference between knowledge about the natural world and knowledge about the spiritual world? What does Galileo suggest that his opponents should do before dismissing his ideas? In what ways does Cardinal Bellarmine attempt to refute Galileo’s ideas? Why did Galileo’s ideas represent a threat to the Catholic Church?

4. What did Paracelsus, Vesalius, and Harvey contribute to a scientific view of medicine?

5. What arguments did Spinoza use to support the idea of female inferiority? What was the effect of this line of reasoning on the roles women could play?

View this related post: The Radicalism of the American Revolution.

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